Amanda Weidman, Anthropology, “Voices of Meenakumari: Sound, Meaning, and Self Fashioning in Performances of an Item Number”

Posted September 12th, 2012 at 2:01 pm.

in South Asian Popular Culture, 10 (3), July 2012:

This article considers how “item numbers,” song sequences that serve as vehicles for sexualized female performance in popular Indian cinema, are re-animated through
embodied – danced and sung – performances outside the films themselves. I examine a single song sequence from a 2009 Tamil film and two kinds of re-animations of it: first, the song as conceived and sung by the original playback singer in performance outside the context of the film, and second, as performed by young women in TV shows and in live stage shows. These performances participate in complex projects of self- fashioning that exceed the conventions by which female voices are given meaning within the Tamil culture industry.

Filed under: Anthropology,social sciences Tags: , , by Diana Campeggio

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